Wild America

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Lions stalking deer in the stubble of a Nebraska corn field. Elephants trumpeting across Colorado's high plains.

Prominent ecologists are floating an audacious plan that sounds like a Jumanji sequel -- transplant African wildlife to the Great Plains of North America.

Their radical proposal is being greeted with gasps and groans from other scientists and conservationists who recall previous efforts to relocate foreign species halfway around the world, often with disastrous results.

The authors contend it could help save Africa's poster species from extinction, where protection is spotty and habitat is vanishing.

They also believe the relocated animals could restore biodiversity on this continent to a condition closer to what nature was like before humans overran the landscape.

While most modern African species never lived on the American plains, the scientists believe today's animals could duplicate the natural roles played by their departed, even larger cousins such as mastodons that roamed for more than a million years alongside antelope and bison.